Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review: A man Rides through by Stephen R. Donaldson

With Geraden, who has been accused of his brother's murder, having fled the castle Theresa finds herself imprisoned for her part in his escape. Her situation worsens quickly with the unhinged Castellan Lebbick being given permission to use whatever means necessary to get the truth from her. Theresa is finally able to get to the bottom of who is behind the imagery attacks throughout Mordant and discovers her own talent for imagery which allows her to escape. Together with Geraden Mordant's only hope of survival rests in her hands.

Donaldson did a great job opening this novel which caught my attention from the very beginning. Instead of directly addressing the cliff-hanger ending from the first book he kind of worked his way around it from the Castellan's perspective which was highly interesting to say the least. The Castellan is an interesting character, having lost almost everything he has cared about and remaining steadfastly loyal to king Joyse who appears to have lost his mind, he is pushed to the breaking point and beyond. He and the Tor are placed in rather similar positions yet go in different directions before finally arriving at a similar fate. Theresa and Gerdan certainly develop as characters and put most of their self-doubt behind them and really mature in themselves and finally as a couple.

In the first volume the action was primarily restricted to Orison castle but Donaldson treats us to a bit of a tour de force of Mordant which doesn't quite work for me as we offered nothing more than glimpses into some intriguing places. I highly recommend any authors writing series with bloated character perspectives to note Donaldson's excellent treatment of the King Joyse and Myste and the champion’s story lines. Since they aren't central to the main plot line we only learn what Theresa knows as she learns about it, a perfect example of how to tie in multiple story arcs without the clutter.

Overall A man rides through it a fitting conclusion to a great duology. 8/10.

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